March 16, 2018

First Line Fridays :: Anne of Green Gables

Hello, my lovelies! It's been a few weeks since I joined in the fun on Fridays over at Hoarding Books, but as I'm currently in the middle of a read-along of Anne of Green Gables, I knew this would be a good week to participate again! Because that first line by Ms. Montgomery? Is just awesome! :D (Just you wait, you'll see!)

Without further ado....Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery!


Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on every thing that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof.

Wow! Is that not the longest and best "run-on sentence" that you've seen?? :D It perfectly sets the tone for this story! You cannot read that and think that this book is going to be boring and dull. It's simply not possible! I've read this story before, but it's been years ago and so had forgotten how purely delightful it is. But I read that first sentence and I just knew. There's a reason why I love Anne so much. Why I remember loving this series of books so much. Ms. Montgomery created a cast of characters that are simply awesome and her vivid descriptions of everything make me think that she must clearly have had an incredible imagination herself!

If you've never read this book, then I highly recommend that you do! It's so worth it to meet Anne. Trust me, it really, really is. :)

What are you reading this weekend? What is your first line?
Open the book nearest you and post the first line in the comments below…
Or just click over here to join in with everyone else!

March 15, 2018

Anne of Green Gables :: Discussion Post #1

So remember how I said I was going to participate in this read-along this month?? And then how I completely missed the twitter chat and answering these questions on the actual day of the discussion? Ah yes, I do recall that... *hides face in embarrassment*

Anyhoo, leaving out all my good intentions to be on time for ALL THE THINGS, here I am at last! I could name off all the excuses (legitimate and reasonable and logical excuses, I'll have you know!), but in the end all that matters is that I'm late. And I'm sorry. But that doesn't mean I haven't been enjoying chapters 1-13!! Because Anne is just awesome, friends. It really has been way too long since I'd spent some quality time with her! And now I am officially ready to chat all things Anne. So let's get to it, how about it?! :D

{Click over to Suey's post for more discussion!}

1. In chapter 2, when Matthew is driving Anne back to Green Gables, she asks him: “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive.” Given her tragic childhood, how do you think Anne is able to maintain such a positive attitude?

Her incredible imagination! I don't think her mind ever stops turning with new thoughts and new ideas and new words, which in turn keep her distracted from the dismal things in life. Also her sheer delight in life, period! I don't think it's something she has to choose, it seems more that it's just a natural instinct for her.

2. Anne is insistent on renaming places and inanimate things.  Why do you think she does this? 

Again, I think it comes back to her imagination. Her mind is so taken with life and everything in it and it makes sense that someone with such a vivid imagination would naturally create personas around inanimate things around her. Also? I think it may partly be because of her tragic childhood. She was so starved for love and attention and her mind and heart needed someone or something to focus her immense amount of love onto. Just look at how she created two friendships basically with herself, via the mirror on the cabinet and the echo. If she couldn't find love and care via the actual people around her, it makes sense that her imagination would then force her to create an outlet of some kind. Which in turn would cause her to want to name the objects that she is "befriending".

3. Marilla gives several reasons for finally deciding to keep Anne. What reason do you think most changed her mind? 

I think it was the combination of things actually. The final kicker being the little bit of motherly care that swept up inside her, especially once she found out Anne's terrible childhood. And also the fact that few people can meet Anne and not like her! :) Marilla thinks of herself as stern and no-nonsense, but deep inside she feels a kinship with Anne's vivacity of life. It brings Marilla to life! As much as Anne's chatter may have annoyed her, yet she secretly is drawn to that. I mean, looking at Matthew and Marilla's lives, it must have been terrible lonely! Anne's presence brings joy and happy to their house and I think Marilla realized that pretty quickly, but just didn't want to admit it to herself right then.

(Also, I think Matthew's opinions hold a lot of sway for Marilla, even if she'd never admit to it!)

4. If Anne grew up today, would she have been happier with how she looked? What would she have pined for, looks- and fashion-wise? What is our society's equivalent of plumpness, dark hair, and puffed sleeves? 

I do think her red hair wouldn't bother her today like it did then. And she'd probably be much more pleased about being skinny! Yet I feel fairly certain that there'd be something she didn't like about herself. Because most of us struggle with that in some form or other. But as for what she'd pine for instead? I don't really know. Fashion and I have never really understood one another!

5. How would Anne have turned out if Marilla had let Mrs. Blewett take her? Would that life have crushed Anne's imaginative spirit, or would she have changed in a different way?

She has proven so incredibly resilient so far in her harsh life that I feel like her imaginative spirit would have endured, regardless. But it may have changed somehow. A young person, especially, can only take so much before breaking. All I know is I don't like to think about it! Marilla kept her and all's well that ends well! :)

My additional thoughts:

I do love how Anne uses such big words! I think, were she real, she would very likely drive me a bit bananas at first with all her incessant speeches. But I'd soon adjust and end up loving her just as Marilla does! :) And her penchant for naming inanimate objects? I love it!!

Also one of my very favorite things? How Matthew simply loves her immediately. It only takes one little drive and he's a goner. I adore Matthew and Anne's relationship. :)

A few favorite quotes:

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be scope for imagination then, would there?"

"Matthew Cuthbert, you don't mean to say you think we ought to keep her!" Marilla's astonishment could not have been greater if Matthew had expressed a predilection for standing on his head.
"Well, now, no, I suppose not--not exactly," stammered Matthew, uncomfortably driven into a corner for his precise meaning. "I suppose--we could hardly be expected to keep her."
"I should say not. What good would she be to us?"
"We might be some good to her," said Matthew suddenly and unexpectedly.

"My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.' That's a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I'm disappointed in anything."

"Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep woods, and I'd look up into the sky--up--up--up--into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And I'd just feel a prayer."

See you next week for discussion #2! I promise I'll try and be on time for that one. ;)

March 14, 2018

Review: Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

OHMYGOODNESS. I believe that, right there, was my exact thought once I turned the final pages of this delightful little story! To say that I'd been salivating over this book coming out would be putting it very, very mildly, reader friends. Having already read and loved Ms. McMillan's debut series, I positively knew that I was going to love this one! And I was right. In fact, I think it's her best book yet! I swooned, I grew frustrated, I shook my head, I melted, I sighed happily, and I simply adored every single aspect of Evelyn's journey. Why, you might ask? What was it that struck me so completely, you must be wondering? I have only one word for you and it's a who, not a what. Klaus. (ALL the heart-eyes for that man!! ;)

I love Klaus. You should totally read this story and fall in love with him yourself! Except not because I want Klaus to be only mine! (Well...and Evelyn's, of course. ;) Having been privy to too many a few gushing twitter convos about this particular man, I can now promise you that he's very worth meeting! But enough about how much I love him, you want to know why I love him, right? I can sum this up in one word, as well. He's a gentleman. (Okay, so maybe make that three words.)

There are not that many heroes in fiction who are true gentlemen, honestly. At least, to the same degree as Klaus! He completely embodies the kindness, gentleness, and loving care which a man should show a woman of his acquaintance. It's his "quiet steadiness" (as Courtney described it) that stands out upon meeting him. He doesn't necessarily make a great first impression (at least to Evelyn! :), but if you hang in there, his inherent goodness shines bright. As his tender heart begins to open just enough for the reader to begin understanding so much more than what he's actually telling us on the page, it invites us to take a deeper look. For so much of the beauty of this story is discovered by what isn't on the page than what is!

Paragraph by paragraph, the gentle weaving of kindred spirits discovering one another, the sights and sounds of Vienna (and Prague!) wafting through your senses, the entwining of music and feeling until one is indistinguishable from the other, and the sheer delight of being so utterly swept away into the story that your heart feels like it can barely take a breath. The very essence of classic literature and literariness that fills every chapter! All of these varied feelings and thoughts that come from Ms. McMillan's talented "way with words", especially when so much of it isn't even written in words. It's simply the emotions evoked through the writing. Gloriously and wondrously evocative writing!

In short, this story reads like a beautifully written fairytale! There is such warmth and care taken with these characters and their slow journey to discovering just what possibilities surprisingly lie ahead and the wonderful feeling of simply falling in love. Falling in love with the characters themselves, as well as the Viennese atmosphere, and the quiet delight of recognizing a kindred spirit. And aren't we always glad to know there are so many of those in the world? :)

**I received a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

If Evelyn Watt's life were projected on a movie screen, it might look like the strand of Laura Linney's story in Love, Actually. not that she was far from home or responsible for an ill relative; rather, every time Rudy Moser walked by her cubicle, she touched up her lip glass and melted into a puddle of idiot.

She loved finding corners of the world that allowed her to see something beyond the ordinary, even as she stayed put.

Her heart ached for Klaus' kind of romance. The kind of romance that stretched beyond someone's lips on her neck or hand in the crook of her arm. The kind that trickled over the rooftops of an age-old city and spun it into a song. The kind that she found in dusty books and old stories. The kind she didn't find here: no matter the chime of the silver and the symphony of champagne, no matter the beautiful ambiance and lithe dancers, the silk and the glisten...

February 22, 2018

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Thirty-Four

Hello, my lovelies! I trust your week is going well. I've had various ups and downs for various reasons here recently. But there's a fun Anne of Green Gables read-along coming up in March to look forward to, as well as ALL the books for the INSPYs! So I have plenty to be happy about. How about you? :)

We are gathered here today to go over a few small reviews for the newest stories that I've read. So let's get to it, shall we?

Meet Cute by a variety of authors
There was definitely a couple really adorable meet cute's in this anthology. But of the however many super quick stories written here, many more of them were not at all what I'd imagined when I started the book. Perhaps it was that so many of them ended far too soon (which, I know, is the point of the book), so I never really got the chance to actually care about most of the characters. I don't know, I just never clicked with a lot of them, so I found myself skimming through really fast.

However, I can say that two or three of the stories left me hanging enough to wish I could read a full length story about those two characters, so it wasn't a complete wash! I grinned over the cute a few times and remember thinking a couple of the stories were fairly quirky fun. So overall, I'd suggest reading this if you LOVE one of the authors therein.

Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer
Of course I loved this! It's Iko, and Iko is always awesome. :) I especially loved getting an even deeper glimpse of her origins and how she came by her unique personality. It required her to work through some rough emotions, but she wouldn't be our beloved Iko if she couldn't come through stronger on the other side!

It was delightful to catch back up with the Lunar gang and see them always have each other's backs and just simply be the best little surrogate family any Earthen, Lunar, or android could ask for! Grand adventures continue to get thrown in the path of our gang and I just loved seeing them all step up and do the hard thing when needed, yet always with love at the heart it. With all the harshness these characters have faced, I love that they refuse to let it get them down.

I do have to admit that while the art is very well drawn, it isn't my favorite. And there were a few times it bothered me in this particular book. But it didn't take away from my overall feelings of happiness once I'd finished! If you like Iko (and who doesn't?!), then I say dive in! :)

A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White
I've been hearing nothing but rave reviews for Ms. White's stories for a few years now, so she's been on my radar. And after seeing the same gushing over this particular story, something about it convinced me I needed to try it. I'm so glad I did! Because the chemistry between Willa and Lukas...?? Oh my stars!!! :D

Yet it's not just their chemistry, I think my favorite part is simply how music resonates for both of them. It reaches down deep in their hearts and settles there, inspiring and encouraging them. The way Willa, especially, gets swept up in her violin playing struck me from the very first pages and is why I, ultimately, decided to bring this one home from the store. (Although I can't deny that the romantic tension was also a big factor in that decision! ;)

The combination of connecting with the characters and their delightful romance, as well as the building tension of the mysteries to be uncovered, all come together to create a beautifully written story. I was thoroughly swept up and closed the final pages with a happy sigh. It's a keeper, friends! For sure.


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